LONGMONT — In its final contest before the winter break, the Longmont Christian boys basketball team played the most complete game of its young season on Friday.
Yet, even amidst an outright team effort that head coach Myron Huey declared the Warriors' "best game in a good while," one name stood out from the rest. Well, it was actually two players, but they share the same last name: Puchino.
Pacing a 75-49 victory over visiting Denver Christian in which the Warriors dominated from start to finish, senior Luke Puchino and freshman brother Dominic Puchino combined for 43 points. Having synced up as a unit and receiving a scoring boost from their Puchino brothers, the Warriors will roll merrily into the holidays with a 3-1 record.
"I think tonight we finally realized how great a team we could be," Luke Puchino said. "There's zero selfishness on this team. It's all desire to win. We iced it in the first half and we just ran our stuff really well, which helped us get points from everyone."
Luke Puchino, whose shooting began to come around in the fourth quarter of the Warriors' last game, hit four 3-pointers (three in the first quarter) on his way to a game-high 26 points at the St. Vrain Memorial Building on Friday. Dominic Puchino, a 6-foot-6 forward, scored all 17 of his points in the first three quarters for the Warriors, who led the visiting Thunder (2-3) by 18 points at halftime.
Senior guard Cameron Jauregui scored 15 points and senior forward Jackson Solem scored 10 to give the Warriors, who played all 11 of their players, four scorers in double-digits.
"The first few games we just sped our offense up too much," Dominic Puchino said. "Tonight we just slowed down and waited for our openings and took the easy buckets. Our first couple games we didn't play our best but we put it together tonight and it feels great going on break on a big win."
The Warriors had high expectations last season with the arrival of 6-foot-9 Croatian transfer Antun Maricevic bolstering an already-strong core. Maricevic graduated in May but that same core remains and has again been bolstered by the closing of cross-town rival Faith Baptist, causing an influx of varsity talent to the Longmont Christian program. With eight seniors on their 11-man roster, the Warriors feel primed for another big season.
"We've been playing for so long together and tonight we just clicked," Jauregui said. "We just went after it and that's all we've got to do. We want to make a run at a state championship."
After the break, the Warriors will be back in action at Mile High Academy on Jan. 5.
Longmont Christian 75, Denver Christian 49
At St. Vrain Memorial Building
DENVER CHRISTIAN (2-3)
Mukokomani 4 3-4 13, Chalmers 2 0-0 4, Kaemingk 1 0-0 2, Booysen 3 7-11 13, Huang 0 0-0 0, Lanting 2 5-5 9, Neu 1 0-0 2, Quinn 2 0-2 6. Totals 15 15-22 49.
LONGMONT CHRISTIAN (3-1)
D. Puchino 7 3-4 17, Solem 4 2-4 10, Shellenberger 0 2-2 2, Jauregui 7 0-0 15, C. Eldred 2 1-2 5, Shaefer 0 0-2 0, B. Azar 0 0-0 0, L. Puchino 7 8-12 26, T. Eldred 0 0-0 0, M. Azar 0 0-0 0, Hoogland 0 0-0 0. Totals 27 16-24 75.
Score by quarters:Denver Christian 7 10 17 15 — 49
Longmont Christian 21 14 16 24 — 75
3-point field goals — Denver Christian (4): Mukokomani 2, Quinn 2; Longmont Christian (5): L. Puchino 4, Jauregui. Total fouls — Denver Christian 20, Longmont Christian 19.